Evidence exists tying dogs to humans as many as 15,000 years ago. There has been an emotional bond between the two, and there are unlimited tales of their mutual care, love and affection.
Although no one knows for sure how those first bonds were forged. Bones and artifacts point to the fact that dogs and man have long shared an interdependent relationship.
Although not every dog is necessarily friendly by nature, stories emerge from time to time of a dog becoming separated from his or her family and undertaking an incredible journey toward reunion. Dogs are used in therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and in clinical settings as comfort for the terminally ill. And hordes of families in all parts of world have been saved by their dogs when their homes caught fire.
A study was conducted comparing dogs, puppies, wolves and chimpanzees’ ability to understand human communication methods. Since wolves have bigger brains than dogs, it was thought they would do better, and since chimpanzees are biologically closer to humans, it was thought they would do best.
The dogs surprised scientists by doing much better than wolves or chimpanzees, and even puppies as young as 9 weeks old outperformed them as well.
“Dogs have a talent for reading social cues in a very sophisticated way,” said Hare ,who did this study.
There has also been a long standing working relationship between dogs and humans, which further cements our symbiotic relationship . “We know that dogs were useful for lots of things in Stone Age culture, as draft animals, in hunting, for warmth, and for protection,” said Jennifer Leonard, a postdoctoral fellow at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. Herding dogs, hunting dogs, tracking dogs and sled dogs have been joined by a variety of modern day working dogs. From rescue dogs to assistance dogs, from war dogs to cadaver dogs, our best friends have made themselves indispensable.
In many ways, we have become as dependent on them as they are on us.
There have been many news stories detailing the bond between dogs and humans, and tales of dog heroics enter the public consciousness, capture our imaginations, and fuel our assertions that a dog’s loyalty is unwavering. No mere animals these, but trustworthy companions who well deserve our praise and pampering. Not surprising, I have heard some say, to err is human, to forgive is canine !
This begs the question, “Just how deep is the tie between humans and dogs? Did the dog know instinctively how to care for a human baby, even though she was a stray and may have had little human contact?
On the infamous 9/11, blind computer technician Omar Eduardo Rivera was at his desk on the 71st floor of the World Trade Center north tower, his guide dog “Dorado” lying under the desk. Then the plane struck. It seemed impossible to get down the stairs, so Rivera unleashed “Dorado” so he could escape to freedom. The dog refused to go, but soon was swept up in the tide of people and disappeared down the stairwell. Several minutes later, he felt the familiar lick on his left hand. Dorado had returned – fighting against the massive exodus – and spent the next hour guiding Rivera to safety. A very short time later the building foundered.
We interact with each other as social organisms. We feel for each other. We share in each others joy, and commiserate with each other in pain. Their feelings are hurt when we yell at them, but they cheer us up when we are down. They are coginizant of how we’re feeling, and they let us know if they’re getting tormented by us or if they’re feeling sick. And we rush them off to the vet or the animal hospital and pray to God to help our dog. We have nurtured them from puppy to adult and they are like our own children. We weep when we bury them. And they are unbearably, heart breakingly morose when we are buried. It is this emotional attachment, this un-dissolvable bond, that puts dogs over the top. This is what, ultimately, makes the dog – a simple creature but not so dumb after all – man’s best friend.
As well as being extremely perspicacious, dogs are blessed with senses much more powerful than those of humans. In particular, their sense of smell is extraordinarily well-developed.
When I drive home from work, i am told our Tibetan Lhasa comes to the door, all agog, even when I am about half a mile away.
Smell is the dog’s dominant faculty, so much so that a huge part of its brain is devoted to analysing odours. Dogs have two giant olfactory bulbs attached to the brain which decode every smell they encounter. The bulbs weigh around 60 grams, four times as much as human olfactory bulbs. Since canine brains are much smaller than ours ,little wonder then that a dog’s sense of smell is reckoned to be 100,000 times better than a humans.
The source of the dog’s exceptional ability to smell is its wet snout. The moist leathery surface of the snout acts like velcro catching even the tiniest molecules of smells, then dissolving them so that the dog’s internal, smell receptor cells can analyse them properly..
Dogs really can literally smell fear. If a dog goes into a room from where a frightened dog has just left, he will appear restless and agitated. This isn’t, as many would claim, some kind of supernormal response. It’s caused by a scent, an alarm pheromone, which is produced by the anal glands of frightened dogs.
Dogs can detect odours that are up to 40 feet underground. They have been used to detect leaky gas pipes. They can also smell insects hidden in the ground or in woodwork. In the United States dogs are used to sniff out termite infestations. Dogs can also pick up the faintest whiff of other creatures. Dogs can smell human fingerprints that are a week old.
Dogs can even smell electricity. While conducting an experiment, a researcher found that a dog could smell which of two compartments contained an electric current. He concluded this was because the charge resulted in the release of tiny amounts of ozone which the dog could detect.
As far as dogs are concerned, all humans have a unique smell. They can pick people out according to body and other odours they disperse. Scientists think the only way a dog wouldn’t be able to discern two people apart would be if they were identical twins on identical diets. The twins would also have to remain silent.
Scientists who tested four German Shepherds discovered they track footprints by dividing the job systematically into phases. In the first two phases, they do the sniffing thoroughly but a bit slowly. Once the direction has been established, the tracking phase begin with the dog once more moving quickly.
Scientists think that simply by sniffing samples of human’s breath, dogs can detect lung, breast and other cancers with an accuracy rate of between 88 and 97 percent. The accuracy rate of a multi-million-pound hospital scanner is between 85 and 90 per cent. Dogs can also be trained to alert people with heart conditions they are about to suffer a seizure. Dogs can also anticipate in advance when a person is going to have an epileptic fit. A Canadian study found that dogs who lived with children prone to epileptic episodes behaved unusually in advance of the attacks, they would lick the child’s face or act protectively. Health authorities around the world are now training “seizure alert” or “seizure response” dogs, some of which can predict fits, and all of which will respond in an appropriate way when an owner does have a fit. Experts think they pick up on tiny behavioral or scent cues, or electrical activity in the owner’s body.
Dogs can predict earthquakes hours before they occur by hearing the faint vibrations of the earth.
Thankfully dogs are being recognized as the amazing creatures they are and laws are being enacted to protect them from people who minimize their value. Next time you see a stray dog, think of them as just hapless souls living on the margins of society, which actually need rehabilitation efforts from you. For canines are the closest any species can get to humans, at least emotionally.
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; highly excited
Synonyms : agitated
Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; an object made by a human being, e.g. a tool or ornament, especially one that has archaeological or cultural interest
Synonyms : antiquity
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; having or showing knowledge or understanding of something.
Synonyms : aware
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; to feel or express sympathy or compassion
Synonyms : sympathize, sympathise
Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; a dead body, especially one that is to be dissected
Synonyms : corpse
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; a stimulus that provides information about what to do.
Synonyms : hint, clue
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; detect with the senses
Synonyms : recognize, distinguish
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; distribute loosely
Other Meaning(s) : verb move away from each other; to cause to separate and go in different directions; cause to separate; cause to become widely known
Synonyms : dissipate spread, diffuse
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun a journey by a large group to escape from a hostile environment;
Other Meaning(s) : the second book of the Old Testament: tells of the departure of the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt led by Moses; God gave them the Ten Commandments and the rest of Mosaic law on Mount Sinai during the Exodus
Synonyms : hegira, evacuation
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; made by physical effort
Other Meaning(s) : adjective; reproduced fraudulently
Synonyms : fashioned
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; crashed or crumbled
Synonyms : collapsed
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; deserving or inciting pity, somebody that is unfortunate.
Synonyms : pathetic, piteous, pitiable, wretched
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; caused lot of discomfort or pain
Synonyms : tormented
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; used for driving, moving or compelling animals
Synonyms : crowding
Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; a large group of people
Synonyms : mob
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; the state of being invaded by parasites.
Synonyms : plague
Contextual Meaning(s) : adjective; extremely desirable or useful, or not to be done without
Synonyms : crucial
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; area just inside the boundary, not in the mainstream
Other Meaning(s) : The blank space around the text on a page; a permissible of difference
Synonyms : borders
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; showing a brooding ill humor
Synonyms : sullen, melancholic
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun a message that tells the particulars of an act or occurrence or course of events;
Other Meaning(s) : adjective; consisting of or characterized by the telling of a story; presented in writing or drama or cinema or as a radio or television program
Synonyms : script
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; of or relating to sense of small
Synonyms : olfactive
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; acutely insightful and wise; mentally acute or penetratingly discerning
Synonyms : incisive
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; extreme excess in members or quantity
Synonyms : over plus, superfluity
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; causing or fraught with or showing anxiety;
Other Meaning(s) : adjective; feeling nausea; feeling about to vomit; causing or able to cause nausea
Synonyms : uneasy, disquieted
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; the restoration of someone to a useful place in society;
Other Meaning(s) : noun; the treatment of physical disabilities by massage and electrotherapy and exercises; vindication of a person’s character and the re-establishment of that person’s reputation; the conversion of wasteland into land suitable for use of habitation or cultivation
Synonyms : reclamation, renewal
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; a vehicle mounted on runners and pulled by horses or dogs; for transportation over snow; verb ride (on) a sled
Synonyms : sledge, sleigh
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; a long projecting or anterior elongation of an animal’s head; especially the nose; beak like projection of the anterior part of the head of certain insects such as e.g. weevils; informal terms for the nose
Synonyms : rostrum, beak
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; used of organisms (especially of different species) living together in a relation beneficial to each other
Synonyms : dependent
Contextual Meaning(s) : noun; the vertical space in a building where stairs are located
Synonyms : staircase
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; (medicine) the act of caring for someone (as by medication or remedial training etc.)
Synonyms : aid
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adj.; experiencing intense pain especially mental pain; tormented or harassed by nightmares or unreasonable fears
Synonyms : harrassed
Contextual Meaning(s) : Verb; to set tree
Synonyms : release
Contextual Meaning(s) : Adjective; marked by firm determination or resolution; not shakable; not showing abrupt variations
Synonyms : steadfast, unfaltering, unshakable
Contextual Meaning(s) : verb; a trademark for a fastener consisting of two strips, one with a dense layer of tiny nylon hooks and the other of loops that interlock with them.
Synonyms : fasten, fix
Contextual Meaning(s) : Noun; perceive by inhaling through the nose.
Other Meaning(s) : noun a strikeout resulting from the batter swinging at and missing the ball for the third strike; a left eye flounder found in coastal waters from New England to Brazil; a short light gust of air; noun strike out by swinging and missing the pitch charged as the third; drive or carry as if by a puff of air; smoke and exhale strongly;
Synonyms : puff, sniff